How do I know if my event/news should have a press release?

A press release may be appropriate if your event or news story idea communicates a significant achievement by students, faculty, staff or alumni, such as news of research accomplishments, awards and honors. The News Service will also consider unique ideas that show how MSU is furthering its land-grant mission or its core themes of learning, access, discovery, integration, engagement and stewardship.

To share an event or news item for consideration, please refer to our staff list to determine which writer would be best for your subject matter. That writer can then help you assess your idea's potential as a news story or press release.

General inquiries may be directed anytime to Michael Becker, MSU News Service Director, at 406-994-4565 or michael.becker@montana.edu.


How do I get a press release prepared?

The first step is to contact the News Service and provide us with relevant details, including why you think the event or research is newsworthy. The News Service will evaluate whether a press release is warranted, and, if it is, News Service staff will prepare a draft through typical means of newsgathering, such as interviews, email and phone calls. The writer will then recommend channels for the release's distribution and — after sharing a draft with sources and administrators for approval — distribute the release accordingly.


How do I get photographic coverage of my event?

For stories being produced by the News Service, the writer working with you will coordinate with the Visual Media team in University Communications to arrange appropriate photography or video coverage. The photographer would then reach out to you to make arrangements.

If you are interested in photographic coverage of an event independent of news coverage that the News Service is producing, you're invited to request original photography. You can also contact MSU Visual Media Director Kelly Gorham at 406-994-5134 or kelly.gorham@montana.edu. For such requests, be aware that there may be a fee and that due to limited Visual Media resources, it will not be possible to cover every event.


How can I get a copy of your media lists?

The News Service's distribution lists are not available for outside use. If you have information to share with members of the media, please contact a News Service staff member about developing a story or press release.


Are there guidelines for conducting media affairs?

Yes. MSU's Media Policy is a guide for how to work with the media. The policy is meant to ensure consistent, coordinated media communications that benefit the university by helping to promote its mission and key messages. It is also important to make sure that university administrators are adequately informed about media communications and affairs. Please review this policy prior to engaging in media affairs.


What should I do if the media contacts me about a story/interview?

The MSU Media Policy includes procedures for dealing with media contacts. This information may be useful for conducting your interview. You may also request the assistance of the media specialists listed in the policy. Those specialists may be able to recommended an approach to a particular topic or interview.

In some cases it may not be possible to anticipate a media contact. The policy asks those contacted by the media to share the details of that contact with University Communications, however minor it may have seemed. Coordinating media communications and responses is a high priority for this office and your notification will be useful. You may do this by contacting MSU News Service Director Michael Becker at 406-994-4565 or michael.becker@montana.edu or Assistant Director Carol Schmidt at 406-994-1966 or cschmidt@montana.edu.


How do I inform communications specialists about media opportunities in my unit?

We are always looking for story ideas and communications opportunities for the media. We encourage everyone to report any possibilities for these in their area to the staff writer who covers that area of campus. All of the university's media specialists are listed with contact information in the MSU Media Policy. You may also submit suggestions to the assistant director of the MSU News Service Carol Schmidt at (406) 994-1966 or cschmidt@montana.edu, or to assistant director of the MSU News Service Anne Cantrell at (406) 994-4902 oranne.cantrell@montana.edu.


How do I get a story on the MSU Home page?

News on the MSU home page is managed by the MSU News Service. You may submit suggestions for stories to any of the media specialists listed in the MSU Media Policy.

The MSU News Group will consider all suggestions and evaluate them for this column. The decision to feature a story usually results in its assignment to a writer for development. As with any publication, there are specific guidelines the group follows for subject matter, content and style that must be met. The MSU News Group does not generally publish articles prepared by others verbatim. In instances where fully developed writing may be provided, the managing editor of MSU in the News reserves the right to edit these for publication.


Can I use a photo that I saw with the Web story?

The photos that appear on our Web pages are not automatically available for reuse by others. In many cases we have obtained special permission to use these photos for our Web publication only. In addition, our versions of these photos are usually quite small and have been optimized for low-resolution on the Web, and do not lend themselves to other uses. You should contact Kelly Gorham, university photographer, kelly.gorham@montana.edu regarding any requests for photo reuse.


How do I submit items to MSU Today

Click here to submit an event to be considered for the calendar, website and email.
Click here to submit an announcement to be considered for the website and email.
For more information or to submit comments, contact MSU News Service, at (406) 994-4571 or msutoday@montana.edu